For the fourth straight year, Chantilly Youth Association (CYA) is looking for would-be Elves and Santa’s Helpers-in-training to help make the season brighter for children fighting cancer and their families.
CYA is again helping DC Candlelighters Childhood Cancer Foundation provide gifts for the annual Pediatric Oncology Holiday Party. “Last year, we collected hundreds of gifts for the party,” CYA Executive Director Mark Abbott said. “It is an honor to have the opportunity to help and we are hoping everyone in our community will participate to make this event extra special this year.”
“When a child is diagnosed with cancer, it takes a toll on the whole family,” said Meg Lawless Crossett, who helped found DC Candlelighters. “Often one parent has to cut back their hours at work or quit working altogether to take care of the sick child, just when the family’s medical bills go through the roof.”
“With finances tight, many parents don’t have the resources to create a memorable holiday for their kids,” Crossett said. “This party gives them a time to forget about cancer for a few hours and celebrate with their children.”
Unwrapped gifts can be brought to the CYA Office, located next to Cassel’s Sports and Awards at 13996 Park Center Road Herndon, 20171, by Monday, Dec. 7. If no one is in CYA office, donations can be dropped off at Cassel’s. Gift value should be in the $20 - $25 range.
Gifts are provided for all of the children in a family, not just the child with cancer. “People don’t always realize how hard it is for brothers and sisters,” Crossett said. “They have to deal with a lot of uncertainty in their lives, and often have to take a back seat to the child who is sick.”
Abbott, who attended the party at Fairfax Hospital last year, said this he is grateful for the opportunity to help again this year. “This is an easy way for our community to make a terrific impact on a family fighting childhood cancer. Watching these kids receive their gifts is heartwarming and none of this would be possible without the enormous effort by the folks at DC Candlelighters. They truly are angels.”
CYA will hold a gift wrapping party on Saturday, Dec. 9 at the CYA Office. For more information or to volunteer, contact Abbott at ExecDirector@ChantillyYouth.org.